(written in conjunction with Hamor Hollow)
We have been breeding for 18 years. Have traveled all over the country to go to hedgehog shows, and meet other breeders.
With all the hedgehogs that are available in pet stores and backyard breeders, you might be wondering why you should take the extra time to contact us and go out of your way to get one of our hedgehogs. Below are a few points we would like to make about the average pet store hedgehog. While you might be lucky enough to find one that is both friendly and healthy, do you really want to take that risk?
* Our hedgehogs are socialized and used to people. While we can’t guarantee the personality of any individual hedgehog (some are runners, explores, cuddlers, etc.), we do guarantee that you will get a hedgehog that is typically much more friendly than one you would find at a pet store. Temperament is our highest concern when we match our breeding pairs, and babies are held from an early age to ensure they are friendly and used to people.
* Our hedgehogs are weaned at no earlier than 6 weeks of age. They are kept in our nursery for an additional week to be sure that the hedgehog is eating kibble and drinking from a water bottle. This ensures that your baby has received adequate nutrition from his/her mother and makes for a much healthier hedgehog in the long run. Many of the hedgehogs you find in pet stores are taken from their mom by 3 weeks and are already at pet stores by 4 weeks of age. Due to lack of nutrition and stunted development, many of these babies get sick and end up at the vet before they are 6 weeks old. Unfortunately the damage done by weaning a baby to early is nearly impossible to undo, and if they survive, many of these hedgehogs end up with severe long term problems.
* Our hedgehogs are kept in clean cages and in good conditions. Many pet stores keep their hedgehogs in overcrowded 10 gallon aquariums with substandard conditions. These hedgehogs are either poked and yelled at all day by excited visitors, or completely ignored because store employees are afraid of them. The hedgehogs are typically not given a hideout so that they will be visible to potential buyers, and they do not receive any toys to occupy them. In a truly bad situation, they may live on dirty shavings, eat dirty food, or drink from water bottles sprouting mold. They learn to fear the loud voices and screaming children who poke at them, and even with proper care, they may never become trusting and friendly hedgehogs. Often male and female hedgehogs are kept in the same cage, and buyers could unknowingly end up with an underage pregnant female.
*We are USDA licensed in good standing. We have been since 2000. The USDA requires annual vet visits, along with sending an inspector at least once a year at random to spot check that are records are up to date, our facility is clean, and animals well kept.
* Our babies are kept in 110 qt Sterilites so that they have room to roam and play. They have tubes and toys to play with and a hideout to retreat to when they need to rest. Bedding, food, and water is changed on a regular basis to keep the cage free of poop, mildew, mold, and germs. Young males are separated from females by 6 weeks of age to ensure that none of our buyers get an unwelcome surprise (pregnancy in an immature female could result in stunted growth, stillborn or cannibalized babies, or death of the mother due to birthing complications). Our babies learn that people are friendly, and they will often occasionally seek out human interaction.
* We carefully plan our breedings and do not ever allow our animals to free breed. Unfortunately, we’ve heard horror stories about some pet stores and hedgehog mills who put all of their hedgehogs in a big tub and allow them to randomly breed with the mate of their choosing. This can potentially lead to multiple generations of inbreeding as well as long term health problems.
* Our breedings are planned very carefully and we often consult with fellow breeders when matching our pairs. We keep detailed pedigrees on site, and many parents are available for prospective buyers to meet. Upon purchase, we will provide you with your hedgehog’s parents’ official names and his/ her date of birth.
* We offer pre-sale support. A hedgehog can be a sharp pet and may not be the right pet for you and your family. We would rather you figure this out before making a purchase, so we encourage those people who are interested in learning about hedgehogs to make an appointment and visit our home (there is a small fee). We will show you how to pick up and handle a hedgehog, and go over all the things you need to know to care for a hedgehog. If you discover your love for hedgehogs is true and you are smitten with a particular quill ball, you can leave a $75 deposit and we can hold your baby while you get set up and ready to bring him/ her home.
* We offer post-sale support to help you and your hedgehog while s/he adjusts to his/her new home. We will explain what to expect when your hedgehog goes through quilling (adult quills coming in) and how you should properly address other care issues. You will receive a hedgehog sleep sack and toy, two-week starter supply of food, and an information packet.